Acupuncture for pain: An overview of Cochrane reviews

@article{Lee2011AcupunctureFP,
  title={Acupuncture for pain: An overview of Cochrane reviews},
  author={Myeong Soo Lee and Edzard Ernst},
  journal={Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine},
  year={2011},
  volume={17},
  pages={187-189}
}
ObjectiveCochrane reviews have the reputation for being more transparent and rigorous than other reviews. The aim of this overview was to evaluate and summarize Cochrane reviews of acupuncture for the treatment of any type of pain.MethodsWe searched the Cochrane Database and evaluated the Cochrane reviews that were concerned specifically with the effectiveness of acupuncture for pain. Data were extracted according to pre-defined inclusion criteria by two independent reviewers.ResultsEight… 

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References

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Acupuncture for shoulder pain.

TLDR
There is little evidence to support or refute the use of acupuncture for shoulder pain although there may be short-term benefit with respect to pain and function.

Acupuncture for lateral elbow pain.

TLDR
This review has demonstrated needle acupuncture to be of short term benefit with respect to pain, but this finding is based on the results of 2 small trials, which were not able to be combined in meta-analysis.

Cochrane systematic reviews in acupuncture: methodological diversity in database searching.

TLDR
Considerable methodological diversity exists in the comprehensiveness of database searches for Cochrane systematic reviews on acupuncture, which makes the reviews prone to bias and adds another layer of complexity in interpreting the acupuncture literature.

Acupuncture and dry-needling for low back pain.

TLDR
The data suggest that acupuncture and dry-needling may be useful adjuncts to other therapies for chronic low-back pain, and there certainly is a further need for higher quality trials in this area.

Acupuncture for peripheral joint osteoarthritis.

TLDR
Acupuncture as an adjuvant to an exercise based physiotherapy program did not result in any greater improvements than the exercise program alone and restriction to sham-controlled trials using shams judged most likely to have physiological activity reduced heterogeneity and resulted in pooled short-term benefits of acupuncture that were smaller and non-significant.

Acupuncture and electroacupuncture for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

TLDR
Electroacupuncture show that electroacupuncture may be beneficial to reduce symptomatic knee pain in patients with RA 24 hours and 4 months post treatment, and acupuncture has no effect on ESR, CRP, pain, patient's global assessment, number of swollen joints,Number of tender joints, general health, disease activity and reduction of analgesics.

Acupuncture for migraine prophylaxis.

TLDR
There is consistent evidence that acupuncture provides additional benefit to treatment of acute migraine attacks only or to routine care, and available studies suggest that acupuncture is at least as effective as, or possibly more effective than, prophylactic drug treatment, and has fewer adverse effects.

Acupuncture for tension-type headache.

TLDR
It is concluded that acupuncture could be a valuable non-pharmacological tool in patients with frequent episodic or chronic tension-type headaches with small but statistically significant benefits of acupuncture over sham.

Evidence from the Cochrane Collaboration for Traditional Chinese Medicine therapies.

TLDR
Most Cochrane systematic reviews of TCM are inconclusive, due specifically to the poor methodology and heterogeneity of the studies reviewed, but some systematic reviews provide preliminary evidence of Chinese medicine's benefits to certain patient populations, underscoring the importance and appropriateness of further research.

How Objective are Systematic Reviews? Differences between Reviews on Complementary Medicine

TLDR
This analysis shows that, at least in the three areas examined, systematic reviews often differ considerably, and readers should be aware that apparently minor decisions in the review process can have major impact.